Sacco & Vanzetti: Cross-examination of the defendants

Learn about the cross-examination of the defendants in the Sacco & Vanzetti trial.

District Attorney Katzmann repeatedly questioned the defendants' patriotism. He began Vanzetti's cross-examination with the following exchange:

Question: So you left Plymouth, Mr. Vanzetti, in May 1917, to dodge the draft, did you?
Vanzetti: Yes, sir.

Question: When this country was at war, you ran away so you would not have to fight as a soldier?
Vanzetti: Yes.
Question: Is that true?
Vanzetti: It is true.

Katzmann's cross-examination of Sacco began in a similar fashion, and continued to include lengthy exchanges in which Katzmann challenged Sacco to defend his political views:

Question: Did you say yesterday [during direct examination] you love a free country?
Sacco: Yes, sir.

Question: Did you love this country in the last week of May, 1917?
Sacco: That is pretty hard for me to say in one word, Mr. Katzmann
Question: There are two words you can use, Mr. Sacco, yes or no. Which one is it?
Sacco: Yes.

Question: Did you go to Mexico to avoid being a soldier for this country that you loved?
Sacco: Yes.

Question: Is that your idea of showing your love for America ?
Sacco: Yes.
Question: And would it be your idea of showing your love for your wife that when she needed you you ran away from her?
Sacco: I did not run away from her.

Question: Don't you think going away from your country is a vulgar thing to do when she needs you?
Sacco: I don't believe in war.
Question: You don't believe in war?
Sacco: No, sir.
Question: Do you think it is a cowardly thing to do what you did?
Sacco: No, sir.
Question: Do you think it is a brave thing to do what you did?
Sacco: Yes, sir.


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